Guys, I have a lot of ties. Actually, I just counted and I currently have 53. So I love and wear ties, but let’s face it no matter how cool and different you think your tie is, to the casual observer you will still be a guy trying to have fun with his office wear. Bowties, Cravats, Ascots and Bolos stand out as deliberate attempt at eccentricity, especially for a dude in the BYT age range. Maybe that just isn’t you. If, however, you’re intrigued by the non-tie option or just like classy photos, read on.
When the title says “Tie Alternative” you’re expecting something about how to look like this right?
That’s all well and good, but I like to take my inspiration from manly men. Manly men like Muhammad Ali.
Or another poet of the punch, Chuck Norris.
Bowties, are not just for dead white dudes and tuxedos anymore. Take a gander at the current Doctor Who and total dreamboat Matt Smith.
Enough with the fanboi talk. You want facts. You want bowties. The best online option by far is The Tie Bar. All ties and bowties are a lowly $15 dollars, they have a good stock variety of classic and modern options, and a lot of ties have matching pocket squares available. Another plus is an adjustable neck band- not only will it fit your freakish neck but if you’re an average necked dude, adjusting the neckband gives you control over how big your bow will be.
Oh, by the way fellas I’m assuming you know how to tie a bowtie or are willing to learn, cause the only way I’ll recommend wearing a bowtie is if you tie it yourself. It really isn’t that hard, there are a plethora web resources and real men can tie knots.
If you want something less “off the rack” than The Tie Bar, Beau Ties is what you’re looking for.
It’s a tad more pricey with ties from $25-$70 but you’re paying for increased ability to customize the shape, size and neck length. The selection of patterns is ginormous and you can get ties, cummerbunds, pocket squares, ascots and cravats in most of them. Which bring us to our next tie alternative…
Terminology gets a little fuzzy here. Wether this is an ascot or a cravat depends on if you speak the queens english and you should realize that many menswear retailers do.
This style of neckwear worn in front of the shirt and behind a vest or jacket belongs in the past or at weddings and I am not espousing it’s values. If you want to wear it go ahead, but be forewarned you will look like my brother.
This is really my brother
The sort of cravat I do whole heartedly advocate, usually known as a day cravat, is one worn under the dress shirt like so.
James M. on Lookbook
Yancy S. on Lookbook
A day cravat is a tied piece of silk fabric. You can buy them at the aformentioned Beau Ties or Absolute Ties for only $20. I don’t own any day cravats but I’m often complimented for wearing them. Silk scarves work just as well, and I didn’t have to break the bank on a silly piece of silk. Raid your mother/sister/girlfriend’s silk scarf drawer and get creative about tying it. Just remember- it should sit on top of your collar bone, not strangle you or make your neck look short by dividing it in half.
Getting Silly- The Bolo
The bolo is the official neckwear of both New Mexico and Arizona. It’s not for the feint of heart, cause a Bolo is just not seen around these parts except on tourists that look a bit like this guy.
But you know what, I like the bolo because it does the impossible and pulls off masculine jewelry. You can find a variety of fairly cheap ones here. Nothing screams manly like carrying rocks around on your neck, so I recommend the stone center ones.
Make like a fictional feminist and burn your ties men, cause you have more options than you know. Besides, once you buy alternative neckwear it’s not just for you.
And your gay cat will seriously love you forever if he gets a cravat for Xmas.
Local Vintage Options
Annie’s Cream Cheese in Georgetown has a case full of clip on and pre-tied bowties if you’re comfortable with strapping on your manhood instead of tying it yourself. They also have an excellent silk scarf collection for the cravat inclined dude with no scarf loving woman in his life.